Lucknow: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi Wednesday met party workers in his parliamentary constituency Amethi of Uttar Pradesh. However, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas termed the trip a "picnic".
On day one of his two-day tour, the Gandhi scion received feedback on "local problems and other political issues", a close aide said. This is Rahul's first visit to Amethi after being appointed the campaign chief of his party for the Lok Sabha (LS) polls.
Amethi is 130 km from the state capital Lucknow.
Arriving at the Fursatganj airstrip of Rae Bareli in a private plane, Rahul, accompanied by his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, drove straight to a meeting of party supporters and discussed the progress of many centrally aided welfare schemes in the family pocket-borough.
District leaders said the party vice president was miffed at the slow progress of schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the National Rural Health Mission and the "non-cooperation" of the district administration and the state government towards development of the constituency.
The visit assumes significance owing to the challenge thrown at Gandhi by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kumar Vishwas, who has said he would contest against the Congress leader from Amethi in the forthcoming general elections.
The poet-turned-politician has been camping in the constituency for the past 10 days and mingling with the public, especially in the countryside.
Commenting on Rahul's visit, Vishwas dared him to get into a public dialogue with him. "I have heard he has come on a two-day picnic to Amethi. Let him do some serious work too and debate with me in public," Vishwas said.
Rahul has been elected twice - 2005 and 2009 - from Amethi, a seat which was earlier held by his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and his late father, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.